“What Comes After the ‘BUT’…?”

Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when MacDonald’s charges $2.00?

Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than at a stay at the Holiday Inn?

Most people today would answer that it’s all about ‘customer service’ when, in fact, they would be wrong! Both MacDonald’s and Holiday Inn offer incredible customer service. What Starbuck’s and Ritz Carlton understand is that it is about the customer EXPERIENCE!


Imagine going to a new restaurant that has been touted as the best in town. You arrive at 7:50 for an 8pm reservation and are seated right on time. You go on to have the best service and possibly the best food you have ever eaten. At one point, the chef comes out to your table and explains how each of your dishes was prepared. The manager checks on you a few times. It is perfect. After dinner, you proceed to go outside, you proffer your parking ticket to the car valet and FIFTY FIVE MINUTES later your car arrives!

Isn’t that part of the overall experience?

Of course it is. But, let’s take this to the next step. It is now 3 months later and you have told hundreds of people to go to that new restaurant because the food is amazing and the service is outstanding. Then, you finish with one word. BUT!…BUT your car will take forever to get to you after dinner.”

What’s this got to do with YOUR profession? Everything! The minute we get our people asking critical questions like “What comes after the but?”, is the minute we start to become 100% customer centric. “They are the nicest people to work with BUT they always are late on delivery”. “You should call my lawyer because she is great BUT she charges too much.”. They are amazing care givers to my Mom BUT the place smells terrible. We need to examine every touch point and imagine what the customer might say. To start to make a shift from service to experience, begin by examining those touch points and see the world through THEIR eyes not yours.

By driving the message of the experience through every department, people realize that, no matter their title or contribution—part time or full time—they are part of the customer experience, they start to become more engaged. By having everyone on your team or, in the organization itself, consider their specific customer touch points and how they can better that one experience, they automatically become more engaged at what they do and ultimately, the customer is the one who benefits. Imagine a CPA meeting with a client (touch point) and hearing about a problem that’s outside of their realm of expertise. They don’t hesitate to suggest that someone else in the firm could help with that challenge. That CPA has just engaged that client at a whole different level because of taking advantage of one simple touch point.

I would write more but…

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